Thursday, February 27, 2014

Agatha Christie Challenge - 1920s Stand Alones

After reading the Tommy and Tuppence I've started reading the Agatha's stand alone books - or books that aren't actually part of a series.  This is my review for the 3 books that were published in the 1920s that aren't part of a series though they do introduce 2 reoccurring characters.  These are 3 of my absolute favorites so it was a pleasure to reread them especially after the murky Postern of Fate.

The Man in the Brown Suit (1924)
This Agatha's first stand alone book and probably one of her least known books.  It's too bad because this book is really classic Christie.  There's a smart pretty girl who wants adventure, is quick on her feet and has little to lose.  There a touch of romance and a dash of international intrigue.  There's an ocean voyage and an expedition into the wilds of Africa.  There is even a hint of one of her most famous plot twists.  Colonel Race, who according to my handy Christie reference book (of course I have a handy Christie reference book) goes on to appear in Cards on the Table, Death on the Nile and Sparkling Cyanide.  I gave this 4 Stars.

The Secret of Chimneys (1925)
This book introduces Lady Eileen "Bundle" Brent and Bill Eversleigh though they are side characters to Anthony Cade and Virginia Revel.  We are also introduced to Superintendent Battle who will appear in 4 other books.  This is another book that features international espionage and takes place during a weekend party at the famous Chimneys.  Anthony and Virginia are both thoroughly entertaining and this is just a fun book to read.  4 Stars

The Seven Dials Mystery (1929)
The Seven Dials brings us back to Chimneys and with a number of the same characters as the last book.  Bundle and Bill move front and center after a friend of Bill's is found dead in his bed after a house party at Chimneys.  The plot leans towards secret organizations and spying but this time doesn't involve much of an international element.  Bundle is great fun and has a good head on her shoulders.  This has one of Agatha's best plot twists. 4 Stars

If you've never read an Christie before any of these 3 would be great books to start with.  They're good mysteries with lots of adventure and likable characters.

Luckily for me, the BBC production of The Secret of Chimneys came on PBS right after I finished the book.  There is pretty much nothing in the movie that resembles the book except for some of the character names.  The good thing is while the story was completely different they didn't completely screw up a character like they did in By the Pricking of My Thumbs when Tuppence was turned into  a drunk that no one listened too.


  1. I love Agatha Christie! I want to get back into her books. I was given a number of them a couple years ago, some of which I've already read, but I would like to read them all--whether again or for the first time.

    1. You definitely should! These 3 are some of my favorites though she does have so many good ones. There are a few I prefer to pretend don't exist but I figure since she wrote for 50 years she's entitled to a few bad ones!

  2. I am all for standalones. There are just so many series out there!

    1. Yes definitely! Though Agatha's series aren't really connected. Same characters but no continuing plots. Since there's around 40 Poirot's alone that's probably best! I can't imagine how confusing that would be.